Choosing A Gaming Headset

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Why a gaming headset?

Some of you may think that "sure I can just plug in that headset I have from my phone." You can do that but as with any purpose built devices these headsets are built for the main purpose of gaming . From lightweight designs, to comfort, to breathable fabric a gaming headset is there to maximise the gaming enjoyment and to make you excel in the best possible way.

So where do I start? The console..

So what is the main console you will be using this headset for. Maybe you are a PC gamer? Check the specifications of the headset you are purchasing and make sure it is compatible with the device you wish to use. There are a range of different connectors to connect to your device. Is it 3.5mm plug? Or maybe 2.5mm? Can I connect to a bluetooth headset?USB or mini USB. Most of the products will point this out. Some xBox models require connection to the controller.

So its needs to be Bluetooth, Right?

Not exactly. Bluetooth is an over the air technology that requires a signal to be passed from the headset to the device. As with any bluetooth device various factors can cause inteference with these signals. Microwaves, power sources, poor shielding on cables and other wireless devices can cause a minor nuisance and create a crackling noise. If this happens try moving the console away from other devices or try the headset in a different room.

Wired headsets remove this interference but attach you to the device. And there are plenty of us who have jumped up in a hurry only to be swiftly returned to the floor grateful to the fact I'm in an online room full of gamers. And although Bluetooth technology has improved over the years there is still nothing faster than cable connections. You won't notice this but its there.



Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)

So whats all this SNR business I have been reading about.
This is the level of the signal compared to the background noise where the background noise is that unwanted hum or crackle you may here when no sounds are playing.
Essentially its how loud it can go. The bigger the better in this case. Just don't lose your hearing seeing how high your headset can go. Safety first kids..

This is getting Techy... Heres comes the Range blurb..

So the human ear has a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. So what I hear you ask. So don't get too excited over something at 25,000 Hz. Believe me you won't hear it .... I said " You wont hear it..." But that pet ferret of yours is doing those cartwheels again isn't he. Also as we get older this range reduces removing the need for huge frequency ranges. And what we are creating is a digital signal so we are removing a number  of sounds the human ear would pick up in a natural situation. 

Everything else..

Check the weight. If you intend on putting in the long hours on that MMORPG you want something that is fairly lightweight. This doesn't matter as much as casual gamers. Check the ear padding. Is it a fabric or a leather? Will I need to clean this often? Are they removable?

Will I use this to answer calls or watch movies from my device? Price is key here for watching movies but be aware that the technology has come on leaps and bounds and its only the well trained ear that can spot the minute details on those blockbusters.

Design - How much does this matter to you. Do you like to look in the mirror or send a number of selfies with your headset on? Everyone wants something to look great but is this the key factor. I don't think its sound be. It all about the sound for these because when a headset is on the top of your head you may not even remember the colour.

Microphone - A boom microphone can be adjusted to pick up your voice to suit the situation in a way that an integrated microphone cant. But then this can get in the way sometimes. Newer models can come with integrated microphones that pick up the sound from beside both ears.

Headband - This is a preference  as to how much padding is needed. It really depends on how heavy the headset is. So a large padding may indicate a heavier headset.

So to summarise. Headsets beat the speakers on your TV hands down. If you like to play it loud and proud find one that suits your budget and needs. The latest headsets are built to improve the detail you hear in the games increasing tension and dramatic effect.
James

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